Big South Conf. Champs!
The last time the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers tennis team faced off against the Luverne Cardinals on Sept. 5, the Bucs came away with an easy 6-1 match win. This time around however, the Bucs would be facing a more hungry and more motivated Cardinals team on Sept. 19.
Not only were the Cardinals out for revenge, but the Big South Conference championship was up for grabs in this high stakes rematch. Being put to the ultimate test, the Buccaneers prevailed 4-3 in a hotly contested fight to the finish.
Now at 14-2 on the season, including 8-0 in section play, this was the first BSC championship in head coach Konny Wolff’s eight-year tenure with BEA girls tennis. It also marks the first conference championship the team has won since joining the Big South Conference.
Wolff believes consistent effort and sheer determination has allowed the girls to reach their full potential in 2017.
“We always work on the mental aspect of the game, and that’s been the difference,” Wolff said. “That’s been our foundation and it helps us pull through when the going gets tough.”
As the Buccaneers and Cardinals were tied at three, it was up to BEA senior Julia Hanson to polish off the victory for the Bucs. Coach Wolff explains Hanson may or may not have known the score was tied during her match with Joci Oye. Hanson simply never asked what the score was, and Wolff decided not to divulge the information.
“I don’t like to tell the girls the scores because I don’t want them to put added pressure on themselves,” said Wolff. “But I think Julia (Hanson) may have known the situation because she was breathing a little faster than usual. I just told her to relax and stay positive, and she was able to get the win. I’m so proud of her.”
It took an 8-6 tie breaker before Hanson finally outlasted Joci Oye, 7-6 in the first set. In the second set, Hanson again came out on top, winning by a score of 6-4.
Other standout performers from the championship win included freshman Ta Armstrong. Continuing her incredible season, Armstrong breezed by Ainslie Robinson 6-0, 6-3. In Armstrong’s previous match against Robinson on Sept. 5, the Bucs phenom also won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
In doubles play, Malarie Scholtes and Carissa Engesser of BEA came out victorious, 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 1 position. Coach Wolff liked what she saw out of her top doubles team.
“I thought Malarie and Carissa really played well together. They were down 2-0 in the first set, and then got rolling when they won six games in a row to take the first set,” Wolff said.
As for Bucs tandem Sydney Blagg and Britt Howard, they found themselves in a very evenly matched battle. Howard and Blagg came out of the grueling match victorious with straight set wins of 7-5, 7-5 from the No. 3 position.
Blue Earth Area’s next match was against the Saints of St. James on Saturday, Sept. 30. Results of this showdown will be featured in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register.